Career Opportunities

The High-Tech Career Handbook

A weekly ComputorEdge Column by Douglas E. Welch

Stop! 3 things to stop doing today

August 10, 2001

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It can be very difficult to see the forest for the trees when you are involved in a day-to-day battle to maintain and develop your high-tech career. Layoffs abound. Project work is drying up. The computer industry is in turmoil. Who has time to worry about the rest of the world when you are just trying to keep your boss happy or your clients off your back? In truth, you need to make the time to constantly evaluate your position in your career and do those things that need to be done to insure that you are moving forward in your career and your life. As a way to jolt you into thinking more about your career and less about your current job, here are 3 things you need to stop doing today.

1. Stop ignoring problems

Too often technology workers are more inclined to “keep their heads down” instead of addressing problems that exist in their department or company. No good can ever come from ignoring these issues, whether they involve buggy software, failing systems or poor workplace ethics. You might think that raising these issues makes you a target for layoff or dismissal should you break the office taboo and actually try and address them. Is this any worse, though, than allowing a problem to continue that can bring down the entire company? The result is the same either way; you are out of work.

If you are facing harassment, abusive or unethical behavior or outright illegal activities, don’t ignore them and hope they go away. I can guarantee you, they won’t. They will fester like a bad infection until they explode and tarnish the reputation of everyone involved with the company.

2. Stop applying bandages to problems

More than ever before you need to understand that bandaging a problem instead of solving it is a downward spiral. Sometimes technology needs to be abandoned, thrown out entirely, when it doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter if the CEO thinks it is a great idea, if the technology doesn’t work, get rid of it. This may take some great persuasive skills, but it is very much worth the effort. In most cases, showing how much money is being lost is often enough to sway even the most rabid executive fan. Of course, if a technology is being used because it is made by the CEO’s brother, you may have a more difficult path. The truth is, though, if your company is making technology decisions based on family relationships, you don’t want to work there. Get out! The company is doomed to mediocrity if not outright failure.

3. Stop creating problems

You need to look at your own behavior over the last year and take note of any time when you became the biggest problem in your career. Have you become disengaged at your job, merely marking time from 9 to 5? Are you engaging in behavior that you would resent in others? Have you given up on any hope of ever finding a job you like?

If you are facing any of these questions, get out! Find a job, a career and a life that mean something to you. You are doing no one, especially yourself, any favors by continuing this death march. Worse yet, you may be irreparably damaging your career and your life by remaining in a job you hate. It can be frightening. It can be painful. It can be a struggle, but no more so than your day-to-day dislike of your current job. Action will always feel better than inaction, even if it does have its associated fear.

It can be hard to face up to your own career issues. Like many things in our lives we find it easier to ignore them than to face the pain of exploring the deeper issues. I will tell you, though, that it is only by examining the darker sides of our careers that you can expand them. You have to develop the trust in yourself that you can deal with any problems that you might find. You are the master of our own destiny. You must take control of your career. Stop doing those things that sabotage your career and make your life less worthwhile than it should be.


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